The US Virgin Islands Best Guide

Visitor Letter

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Visitor Letter

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Visitor, welcome to the Virgin Islands. You may not think it, but you've stepped onto some very foreign territory. Sure we're under the US flag and all of the residents are US citizens, but things work a bit differently here. Now I'm well aware that you as a visitor have been left scratching your head quite a few times wondering what it is you said or did that totally and completely pissed off a resident. Chances are you weren't abiding by some very simple guidelines. No one will tell you what these guidelines are, but I'm throwing you a bone here so listen up:

1. Mind your "manners"

In the Virgin Islands, it is required that you start of your exchange with any resident with the words "Good morning", "Good afternoon", or "Good evening". Unless you do this, be prepared for one very standoffish exchange. This isn't really manners, it's more like a requirement. Trust me, you'll need this very important foot-in-the-door. The best part is it's up to you to keep track of the time to know exactly which phrase to use (we residents always know and will correct you if you screw up). Be sure to ask a fellow tourist what the time is before you start asking questions.

2. Avoid Driving

I know what you're thinking. "I've driven on the freeway, this should be a piece of cake." Man, you don't know how much trouble you just bought yourself. Now I commend you if you truly want to learn our ways, but keep these facts in mind.
*Nobody here drives the speed limit. Furthermore don't expect a speeding ticket unless you actually hit somebody.
*We drive on the left. Seems the US is one of the very few countries in the world that drive on the right. Getting over the mindset that because America does something that the entire world should do it will take you far.
*It's not really that we drive like morons, it's more that we're all fighting for what little road space that's available and you'll probably get caught in the middle. Avoid any James Bond-like tactics and you'll be ok.

3. The Customer Is Always Right...Except Here

You're probably used to getting what you want fast and without hassle. If you don't, the waiter is probably looking at unemployment. Please leave this mentality at home. ANYWHERE you go will take up some measure of time. It may be because the establishment is paying special attention to details or they simply don't give a rat's ass how long you hang around (because you're hungry and you're not going ANYWHERE). Get used to "Island Time". Island Time applies to the checkout lane, the bank line, whatever. Keep in mind you came down her to slow down. Well guess what, that's what you got.

4. Develops Some Cartography Skills

That's reading maps....because you sure as hell aren't going to get accurate directions from a local. Think about any small town you've visited in the past. Remember what it was like asking them for directions? The locals had no idea what any of the streets were named. They guided you by telling you to look out for landmarks. It's the same thing here. So either you learn the map or ask for directions because you won't have them both.

5. Know Your Ride

A taxi isn't just a taxi in the Virgin Islands. We have regular taxis, tour taxis and dollar taxis. Regular taxis are what you probably encountered the minute you got out of the airplane terminal. Tour taxis are more geared towards cruise ship visitors. They charge a bit more for a tour of some of the island sights. If you're here on the cheap, look out for dollar taxis. They stop at designated bus stops. As long as you're traveling withing the town region (aka not going up any hills) the fare is $1. Anywhere else expect to pay $2 and make sure you know where the hell you're going.

6. Don't Wear Socks With Sandals

Actually, this is pretty much taboo anywhere in the world. I just mentioned it because it annoys me to no end. Moving on....

7. Don't Try To Mimic the Lingo

If it's one thing that really irks us is a non-native trying to talk like us. This is the equivalent of saying "Hello-o, do you-o know-o where-o the bathroom-o is-o?" to a Mexican. The Mexican doesn't understand a word of what you said and has put you him his "stupid American" box...which means he'll pretty much ignore your inquiry. Everyone here understands English quite well so speak it freely. If you say "Yeah, mon!" and get smacked don't say I didn't warn you.

8. You're Not Superman/Wonder Woman

People on vacation believe they're invincible. Nothing bad can happen on vacation right? Wrong! The rules here are the same as anywhere else. Don't wander into places that lack a multitude of people, stay in well lit areas, and travel with groups if you can. If you're recreating in the water, please learn how to swim first (trust me, someone will be available to teach you). If you're drinking to forget, be sure to pay the bartender in advance and secure your ride home well in advance.

9. Stop Looking For Creature Conforts

You're just not going to find them. Sure we're got a few major fast food chains but the USVI probably has about 20% of all the stuff that's out there right now. So if you're craving a Quarter Pounder, you ok. If you're looking for the Half Pound Burrito you CAN find it, but just not at Taco Bell. Don't be afraid to ask around for certain types of food. If it's one thing people here are open about it's what they like to eat. Hooking up with a local could mean the difference between a bag of chips or a plate of ribs at 12am.

10. Don't Be Afraid to Disconnect

Yes we have Internet here. Yes we have cable/satellite/digital television. Yes, you can even pick up a copy of the New York Times at select locations. Trust me though, you don't want to deal with all that stuff. Relax! Find a beach and have a drink in a coconut half like they do in the commercials (good luck finding the coconot half, but I'm speaking hypothetically here). You're not missing much and you'll have plenty of time to catch up AFTER your vacation. Live it up! THIS is your world now.

I hope my 10 simple rules for getting along in the USVI didn't scare anyone off. They were in fact meant to encourage you to get out there and do what you came here to do. Get drunk, pick up drunken girls (or guys, whatever your preference is), get wild and have a little fun. So get out there and party, party animal. Oh, and if by some chance you bump into me and ask me for directions you better have a map handy otherwise I'll just tell you to hang a left at Wendy's and keep on driving 'til you get there.

Found @

Posted : January 24, 2006 9:13 am
Posts: 185
Reputable Member

lol, white socks with white tennis? lol geeky? scooby

Posted : January 29, 2006 7:48 pm
Posts: 763
Prominent Member

You forgot the most important....

Nothing good happens after midnight!

So if you want to stay at Duffy's into the weeeeeeee hours and something goes wrong - Please do not post on one of the many web pages that something is bad about STT.

Those who watch the paper online and always want to post about crime in St Thomas - read when they occur


Posted : January 29, 2006 8:44 pm
Posts: 1

White socks with shorts/tennis shoes - - totally acceptable. Black socks should be worn with dress shoes and long pants/trousers. Never, ever with shorts! And, yes, strongly agree with Bluwater - black pantyhose with white shoes - - eek! White pumps as a whole are the verge of a fashion no no. Maybe Carrie on Sex and the City can get away with it, but most others look like the "pole-dancer" next door!

Meanwhile, sandals, ah sandals. I am drooling just thinking of open toed shoes instead of boots at this moment!!

I can make it until April. I can make it until April. Precious VI.

Posted : January 30, 2006 11:36 am
Posts: 763
Prominent Member

You know you will be attired correctly when you are wearing a pair of Reef Sandals (flip flops) that have a beer opener built into the soles of the shoes.

Posted : January 30, 2006 3:10 pm
(@former resident)
Posts: 1

Very good list. I would also add that if local women look at you with a certain contempt in their expression or speak to you coldly and condescendingly, DON'T take it personally. It's just the way it is and it has nothing to do with you personally. So just smile, shake it off and move on. Oh! and by the way, I must agree: socks with sandals are annoying and will make you stand out like a sore thumb.

Posted : January 30, 2006 4:54 pm
Posts: 763
Prominent Member

Former Resident,

I cannot agree more about the ladies of paradise.....

While visiting my son he lost his cell phone. Went to the cell office and took our number. When a lady called our number my son said just sit here. Wait till the only male in the office calls the next number and say Sorry Sorry.

No way, I said let us get this done. After 30 minutes dealing with the young lady. I said ok....

We got another number sat down and waited till the man called our number. After he called our number it took 5 minutes and we were done.

Not trying to slam women or anything else, but I can tell you if someone tells me the ladies of the VI got an attitude - I will respond - "AMEN"

Posted : January 30, 2006 7:57 pm
Posts: 1

how about guidelines for the locals??

Posted : January 31, 2006 11:25 am
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